How relevant are you?

 

Lately, I’ve been undergoing a sort of self-analysis, which is also a prevailing theme in my family and our church at the moment.

Our church is gearing up towards a re-launch and we are experiencing great momentum as we share our vision through outreaches and other means. One thing we are finding out repeatedly is that people are tired of business-as-usual as far as the church is concerned. People need a community of love where they can belong and be accepted. Up until now, we in the church (generally speaking, of course) have created the impression that you have to believe before you belong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not espousing “a new gospel” here. I’m not referring to the kingdom of heaven which has undisputable pre-requisites, but to a community of love which breaks down the barriers and objections to the gospel message and opens the door to the kingdom of heaven. Let’s face it, people don’t always understand the language of the kingdom of heaven, but they always understand the language of love.

The way my husband illustrates it is that we inadvertently draw a circle around the cross, demarcating who’s “in” and who’s “out.” The truth is, Jesus never did that. He never for one moment lost His sense of purpose or compromised His mission and principles, yet He broke down all social and cultural barriers in order to reach all. Whether it was to the prostitute, despised and marginalized by society, or the rich, young ruler who had it all, or the regular every day folks who became His disciples, Jesus was real, relevant and touched a need in people’s lives. He loved first, made people feel like they belonged, and then they believed!

Joseph and I like to fly below radar as much as possible. When we meet people, we leave out the part where we mention that we are pastors. Reason being, sometimes when that tidbit of information is revealed, we immediately see a shift in their attitude and they start to apologize for every cuss word they used. If people can’t relate to me in default mode, then how can they relate to Jesus whom I claim to represent? Can I truly embrace someone who does not believe like I do, or do they have to believe first before they belong in my “circle”?

Anybody feeling me out there? If so, please join me on the doctor’s couch of self-analysis. Plenty of room…

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teresa
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 20:04:14

    Nice post Sola. I commend you and your church on your goal to be living love to people. May I say I’ve already experienced it through certain members of your church I correspond with!? I’m happy for your sister and her new husband, and glad you had a good time. But I’m even more glad you are back! I’ve missed you and your blog. Blessings-p.s.-love the picture!

    Reply

  2. solathompson
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 01:07:20

    Thank you for your kind words, dear Teresa. I love my church “peeps”, and I’m glad to hear it’s not just me. 🙂

    Reply

  3. ash
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 09:47:16

    well written. and the two of you do a great job of this. one ex. off the top of my head i remember is that richie thought it was great that you two are movie buffs and it wasn’t just a selection of the recent “Christian” films but the senseless destruction of Governator movies ha ha… this to say, you’re everyday people

    i whole heartedly agree that we have to give people room to be themselves. jesus wants people to come to him just as they are and he’ll change their hearts. i wonder if we as his representatives sometimes forget that…hence the push by some to force the faith speech? if we’re living as Christ would have us, should it just resonate rather than intimidate?

    Reply

  4. solathompson
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 11:44:16

    Nicely said, Ash. Very nicely said!

    Reply

  5. Joseph
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 11:58:33

    Babes, great post. No doubt you must be part of a great Church if they’re teaching all this great stuff!!! 🙂

    Reply

  6. solathompson
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 12:10:41

    What can I say – I have a great pastor! 😉

    Reply

  7. Wendy Adeleye
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 17:30:51

    For me the old english saying puts it succintly- “the taste of the pudding is in the eating”. Christianity is not a religion but a lifestyle. There are a lot of golden opportunities we miss when we put on our ‘Jesus Cap’ and relate to those outside the fold as ‘outsiders’.

    We should remind ourselves that we are saved by grace.

    Guess I shouldn’t be singing to the choir!!!

    Reply

  8. solathompson
    Feb 27, 2009 @ 16:21:57

    Thanks for your input, Wendy. Much appreciated!

    Reply

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